In a recent Wall Street Journal article, terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann said that anti-Muslim rhetoric in America is bad news for anti-terrorism efforts: "We are handing al Qaeda a propaganda coup, an absolute propaganda coup."
By many accounts, the man who could blunt the power of that coup is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the religious leader behind the planned Islamic Center near Ground Zero. The imam has been surprisingly mum on the issue while he travels in the Middle East. What message of faith could he offer to Muslims and non-Muslims alike that could turn this moment of division into a time of healing?
Elizabeth Tenety on August 23, 2010 2:07 PM
Only Imam Rauf can resolve this situation. New York Governor David Paterson proposed to help him out by finding a different location for the center. The Catholic Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, endorsed that plan. Rauf should take them up on the offer.
Posted by Ronald Rychlak, on August 27, 2010 12:16 PM
Mass hysteria intrinsically is unreasonable and irrational. The imam and his allies do have the power to take the high road; the power to end this tragic sideshow by considering other sites. It is an unfortunate choice to have to make, but silence is not the answer.
Posted by Aseem Shukla, on August 26, 2010 3:09 PM
If the West wants to end the war of words, we should seriously enjoin every Arab country to reform its educational system and move toward democracy. I'm not saying anything new. But by continuing the endless cycle of provocation that has marked Mideast history in the postwar era, both sides act as if consciousness-raising isn't an issue
Posted by Deepak Chopra, on August 26, 2010 2:20 PM
Turn off the hate-spewing commentators and go out and meet your neighbors. Practice the tolerance, love and compassion that every religion at its best preaches. Remember--if we fail to support the right of any one religion to meet, worship and educate, our own rights are jeopardized.
Think of the potential for hope and healing, silencing of skeptics, and promotion of peace if only Imam Rauf would do the "right" thing by not exercising his right to build an Islamic Center at the geographic center of such a sore spot in our nation's heart.
Posted by Danielle Bean, on August 24, 2010 3:35 PM
The true scandal here is that Muslim moderates have been so abysmally lacking in candor about the nature of their faith and so slow to disavow its genuine (and growing) pathologies--leading perfectly sane and tolerant people to worry whether Muslim moderation even exists.
Jesus told his followers what to do when facing hatefulness. He said, "Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you...And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them" (Luke 6:27-31). Jesus was saying take a surprising initiative to break the cycle of conflict. Do what your enemies don't expect. Change the status quo.
Posted by Robert Parham, on August 24, 2010 8:55 AM
Rauf should say, "Right now more than 2/3 of Americans are against this project I'm trying to make happen. Not all of them are ignorant bigots. We need to stop giving the ones who aren't reasons to agree with the ones who are."
Posted by Jason Poling, on August 23, 2010 6:43 PM
Any faith can be twisted, misused, and made into a tool of oppression, hatred, and violence, but that if one looks at the core of the great Wisdom Traditions of the world such as Islam, much that is life-affirming and salvific can be found.
Our enemies are using our Constitution and religious pluralism against us. They have a plan to infiltrate us, build mosques and ultimately impose Sharia Law. They say so. They mean so. People who are in denial about this are dupes and self-deluded.